NEW ROLES IN WAR ON DRUGS
WITH the order to stop all police operations against illegal drugs, the responsibility and burden of clearing of the remaining 259 drug-affected barangays in Pangasinan has been effectively shifted from the Pangasinan police to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
This was bared by Supt. Jackie Candelario, deputy police provincial director for operations, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the cessation of anti-illegal drug operations by the Philippine National Police whose priority is now to cleanse the ranks of policemen of scalawags and criminal elements.
As ordered, the Pangasinan police, effective February 1, will no longer conduct and be involved in buy-bust operations, serving search and arrest warrants against identified drug personalities and in clearing of drug affected barangays.
There are 1,364 barangays in Pangasinan and of the number, 1,269 were originally listed as drug-affected while 95 was unaffected.
Of the 1,269 drug-affected barangays, 1,010 barangays or 80 percent have already been cleared as of January 25, 2017, according to Candelario.
He told the KBP Forum on Thursday that the police will turn over to the PDEA all their records on the remaining drug-affected barangays including names of the drug personalities identified in the villages.
But he said the police will still continue to monitor incidents of drug trading and use in the barangays and pass the information to PDEA.
He pointed out that the new development is actually just reverting to the old policy where PDEA was the lead agency in the fight against illegal drugs. (Leonardo Micua)
PDEA: No letup in drug campaign
DRUG pushers in the region will continue to be targets of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) notwithstanding the suspension of the Oplan Tokhang operation of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
This was stressed by Jeoffrey Tacio, PDEA Region 1 director, after a a conference with the Police Regional Office 1 (PRO1) on Jan. 31 with provincial directors in Region 1 to map out new strategies to sustain the anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Tacio said drug personalities should not rejoice because PDEA is intensifying its efforts to end the drug problem despite the order from the Chief PNP Ronaldo de la Rosa suspending ‘Tokhang’ and disbanding the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) units tasked to implement it.
“It’s not happy days are here again for drug personalities. They should not rejoice and celebrate just yet,” Tacio said. “We will sustain our efforts and we will see to it that we will not lose the momentum.” he added.
He said the new development “will be a big challenge to PDEA” considering that it lacks resources to carry out its mandate.
Tacio said they will need to tap the support of other law enforcement agencies like the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Philippine Coast Guard to help in the campaign against illegal drugs.
He said that while PDEA takes the lead from hereon, he acknowledges that the support of the PNP especially in barangay clearing operations as the town or city police chief gives clearance for drug-free. in the fight against illegal drugs will still be necessary.
He clarified that even without the recent order, there is an existing policy being observed by PNP that all anti-illegal drugs operations must be coordinated with PDEA.
“So long as it is coordinated with us. We will provide coordination number and pre- operation guidance,” he said as he added PDEA’S priority will be high-value target drug personalities and street-level pushers, including those who surrendered earlier.
“We need help of community officials, local government units, media and other law enforcement agencies,” Tacio intoned. (Tita Roces)
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